So, your training is better than it's ever been, your eating is clean and you are well on your way to achieving your goals, everything is working. Then......
You get a phone call from your friend who is in dire need of a cocktail and a happy hour to drown her sorrows and as the good friend that you are, you meet her for drinks, problem is, you have an Insanity class booked for 7am and the last you checked, you were 5 cocktails down and it's 11:30pm. So, what happens when you train on a hangover? Is it a good idea or a bad idea with good intentions? This is what I think happens when you follow a coke and jack with a jumping jack.
1. The Booze Snooze...
Even though your head HiiT your pillow just after midnight after the dicey drive home in your UBER, it serves you right for being such a good friend but the fact still remains that your quality of sleep will suffer. A study published in JMIR Mental Health found that even a moderate amount of drinking lowers restorative sleep quality and training when tired increases risk of injury. Hamstring injuries often occur when a tired person tries to sprint according to Dr Leon Creaney, a consultant in sports and exercise medicine at the Manchester Institute of health and performance. Fatigued muscles can't react as quickly so co-ordination and agility are heavily compromised too so be sure to watch your step on the skill-mill.
2. Water Wednesday.
This is normally followed by Super Slurry Saturday and Sip Sip Sunday. Studies have shown that for every 1ml of Alcohol consumed, urine secretion increases by 8 times i.e 8ml so unless you're drinking more water than being hit on by a drunk city worker, you are going to be dehydrated by the time you put your trainers on. Even though there is no direct link between moderate dehydration and poor training performance, severe dehydration has been proven to result in poor concentration and severe fatigue which can also lead to muscular cramps, strains and injuries says Dr Creaney. So if you wanna go, grab the H2O.
3. The Wine Sweats
I didn't make this up, it's a real thing! Approximately 10% of alcohol that isn't metabolised is excreted by sweat, urine and wait for it, your breath. So before you reach for the wine, think of your poor personal trainer if you're training the next day!! But it get's better. Dehydrated kidneys work extra hard to preserve water and therefore your body will reduce the amount you sweat to achieve this, in other words, less water for sweat means higher concentration of bacteria and waste in your sweat. Let's just say that you won't be smelling like a meadow whilst training. So, if you have a heavy gym session planned, you run the risk of becoming even more hydrated and being nicknamed Smelly Smellerson.
4. Muscle Factory
You woke up this morning with a half eaten Big Mac stuck to your face and you quickly realise that this wasn't on the eating plan your trainer gave you.....ooooops. If building lean, clean muscle is the journey, then alcohol is the road block! Alcohol inhibits your body's ability to protein-synthesise, in other words, it actively prevents your body from turning protein into muscle. However, if you think that is bad, what about the fact that drinking only 2 units of alcohol suppresses your body's fat burning ability by up to 73% so if weight loss is your goal or you're trying to lose weight fast, drinking alcohol will literally stop you from doing this. It's also interesting to note that although 1gram of Protein or Carbs has 4kCal, 1g of Alcohol has 7kCal which is almost as much as 1g of Fat which is 9kCal. Alcohol is Fat's ugly cousin disguised as a good idea. Food for thought no?
5. The Hippy Hippy Shakes
I'm not referring to a dance from the 70's, it's the low blood-sugar (glucose) and the full body shakes, blurry vision and fighting the urge to revisit the other half of that burger you consumed last night. Alcohol messes with your liver's ability to maintain balance blood sugar levels. Lend your liver a hand and eat a piece of fruit 30 minutes or so before your training session. If you're feeling a little ropey, opt for a low impact session and drink warm water with 3g of grated ginger root beforehand which will help with nausea.
Listen, sometimes we get caught off guard. It happens. We go out with the best intentions in the world not to drink and sometimes we stick to our guns, other times, we succumb to the alluring dance of the daiquiri and we trip and fall. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and drink your own body weight in water to rehydrate and to help your liver and kidneys and you should be OK. But remember, you are only human so don't be too hard on yourself but try and be kinder to your kidneys.
As always, keep training, keep learning and be happy.